How to Make a Video Essay 

 In Video Marketing

One of the coolest things about video marketing is how flexible it is in letting you tell a story to your consumers. Instead of simple video ads, you can choose to tell full stories and build narratives around your brand that connect with your viewers.  

Video Essays as a Form of Marketing

Recently, one of the more popular styles to unfold is the video essay, a short video that can tell a story from start to finish using clips, pictures, and text in a mixed format. 

Unlike ads or other marketing clips, video essays are meant to be informative first, and let you talk about a variety of topics beyond your product that may not even be directly related.

Instead, you can explore topics your consumers may find interesting and become an authority in your industry. 

Since they’re meant to tell a story, they’re also usually much longer than a quick Facebook video share or Instagram video ad.

There’s no real time limits, but video essays generally range between six and 15 minutes. 

With a focus on narrative, video essays let you craft a clear message and drive the point home more effectively than a standard ad. 

More importantly, because they’re not usually viewed as “sales”, you can place them anywhere from your YouTube channel to Facebook and even on less marketing-oriented sites, giving you greater exposure and introducing more viewers to your brand. 

How to Create a Video Essay:

Even so, it’s not always easy to know where or how to get started making one. Here are some easy steps you can follow to begin building your very own video essay: 

  1. Choose Your Topic:
    • Before you start shooting and editing, it’s important to know exactly what you’re going to talk about. Video essays tend to have a tighter structure than standard ads and preparing a topic will help you fill it out better.
    • It’s important to keep in mind at this stage that your product itself isn’t quite a topic for a video essay. Instead, it should focus on more specific aspects of your brand or product. What are some benefits? Is there a story behind your product?
    • Find topics that give you the space to deliver a satisfying and engaging narrative.
  2. Create a Narrative and Script:
    • With a topic in hand, the next step is to turn your idea into a story. Unlike shorter video ads and fun promotional clips, video essays need to drive a narrative and require a more defined structure.
    • Think about your video’s beginning, middle and end, and try to fill out each section to start giving your outreach more substance.
    • Once you’ve constructed an outline, you can easily start writing a script that captures your idea more clearly.
  3. Choose the Right Clips and Images:
    • Video essays are made up of a combination of narrated clips (usually a person standing in front of the camera) and different clips and images that support a point. This is one of the biggest advantages of video essays, and you should do your best to make the most of it.
    • Start collecting clips of your product in action, very satisfied customers discussing your product, or even feature your team hard at work.
    • Having a wide library to choose from will help you find exactly what you need to support every point you make and ultimately, craft a better, more coherent video.
  4. Edit Your Video Into A Single Essay
    • With everything ready to go, all that’s left is to combine all your footage and images into a single narrative.
    • We love using tools like Videoleap to handle our video editing directly on mobile. Videoleap gives you full control over your editing by including high-end tools that are still great for beginners.

Our favorite video essays by brands:

“What Food Says About a Character” by Fandor:


“David Lynch: The Treacher of Language” by What’s So Great About That:

Tell A Better Story

Now that your video is ready, the last step is to share it with the world, and ensure you publish it on YouTube at the right time. Creating engaging and professional video essays is easier than you think.

Aside from delivering potent new visuals, it helps to shine more light on your brand. Take the time to build stories and powerful narratives to make the most of your video essays. You won’t regret it.

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